Outlander Recap: Season 5 Episode 6 “Better to Marry Than Burn”

Outlander Season 5 Episode 6
Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Chris Donald in ‘Outlander’ season 5 episode 6 (Photo Credit: Starz)

We travel back to Scotland in 1746 as Starz’s Outlander season five episode six begins. A carriage is halted by two dragoons and a man calling himself Samuel Torrington emerges from the passenger compartment. He claims he’s putting distance between himself and Culloden.

The man says he’s accompanied by his wife and daughter, and we see Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) warn their daughter, Morna, to say nothing as they emerge from the carriage. It’s searched and they find nothing…that is until one of the men bends down to help Morna who’s gotten her foot stuck in the mud. He spies a concealed box under the carriage, jimmies it open, and finds Charles Stuart’s gold.

The man who introduced himself as Torrington is actually Jocata’s third husband, Hector mor Cameron. He accidentally shoots Morna as he’s attempting to kill one of the English soldiers. She dies, along with the two soldiers. There’s no time to mourn her death as they retrieve the gold and resume their journey.

Morna’s body is left behind. Jocasta’s only able to grab a ribbon from her hair before she’s forced to leave her beautiful young daughter to rot on the side of the road.

Flash-forward to Jocasta still clasping that ribbon decades later. It’s the day before her wedding to Duncan Innes and he presents her with a small pillow that smells of lavender to soothe her nerves. Embroidered on the pillow is the MacKenzie motto: “I shine, not burn.”

It’s obvious Jocasta doesn’t love Duncan, and she admits to her close friend and butler, Ulysses, that she only hopes in time he’ll afford her “a wee bit of peace.”

Jocasta meets with Jamie (Sam Heughan) and he’s happy to be at River Run to help her celebrate. Papers are placed before her that will make her the guardian of River Run until Brianna and Roger’s wee baby, Jemmy, is of age to take over. Her husband-to-be has agreed to this arrangement.

She signs her name after her lawyer, Gerald Forbes (Billy Boyd), confirms this is what she truly wants. Jamie signs as witness to the document.

Speaking of the adorable (and spoiled) baby, he’s got a cold and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) remain at Fraser’s Ridge to care for their child. Plus, Roger’s still a bit bent out of shape over his last encounter with Jocasta.

As they’re talking, the adorable Adso arrives with a bug. Their attention turns to the window as it’s the first of many locusts that have just invaded Fraser’s Ridge.

Meanwhile, the fine folks gathered at River Run celebrate the impending marriage of Jocasta and Duncan. Claire and Jamie look handsome in their fancy clothes as Jamie steams over having to rub shoulders with people who would see Murtagh dead. He believes Murtagh should be the one marrying Jocasta.

Lord John Grey’s among the few attendees Jamie’s happy to be able to spend time with. Jamie, Claire, and Lord John (David Berry) are in complete agreement about their disdain for Governor Tryon’s presence, but put on a show of being pleased to see him.

Jamie compliments the Governor on his decision to pardon “dishonorable men.” Tryon admits it was Scotsmen Samuel Johnson who came up with the idea that men must not assemble in groups larger than 10. (Anyone else immediately think of #FlattenTheCurve and the need to stay at home during the Coronavirus pandemic during this discussion?)

Back at Fraser’s Ridge, the crops are about to be overrun by locusts. The townsfolk believe their only option now is to burn Jamie’s fields. However, Roger wins over no new friends by warning them that a simple shift of the wind could burn down homes.

Unfortunately, he isn’t immediately able to offer any alternate solutions.

A short while later Roger remembers a story from his youth. His father told him about a plague of locusts that were driven away by smoke before they could land. He hopes/believes it’s the truth. His plan is to place fires at the edge of the fields to ward off the major swarm before it lands and destroys the crops.

Roger fills buckets with poop, creating smudge pots. Goose fat and poop mix in the buckets, and voila! – smoke fills the air. Enough in the field should keep the locusts away. But, Roger’s not sure how to force the smoke over the fields. The wind might not be blowing when they need it to.

Brianna notices sheets drying on the line. “I have an idea for that. Here, I’ll handle this. You keep shoveling your shit,” says Brianna.

The citizens of Fraser’s Ridge get busy placing the smudge pots around the fields. Roger, who’s supervising their distribution, tells Brianna, “You know, when your father left me in charge, I thought I might have to mend a fence, wrangle the odd runaway cow. But no, I get a biblical plague.”

Men and women wave sheets and blankets to direct the smoke. Roger looks up to see a massive cloud of locusts heading their way. He yells for everyone to keep the fires up and not run from the insects. The townsfolk keep working as most of the locusts fly over Fraser’s Ridge.

When the locusts leave, the cornfield has been saved. They’ve lost some bean crops but have emerged in good shape. A quiet moment of celebration for Roger’s plan is broken up by Mr. Lindsay who admits he thought the plan was foolish. He then acknowledges it was the right move and he only lost half a field. His family will have food for the winter, thanks to Captain Roger Wakefield.

Brianna jokes that maybe her dad will promote him to major. Roger laughs and says, “I hope not,” before they enjoy a long kiss.

Over at River Run, Claire and Margaret Tryon (Melanie Gray) engage in a quiet, friendly chat that’s interrupted by the unexpected – and unwelcome – arrival of Philip Wylie (Chris Donald). Neither lady is impressed by the man, and Margaret reveals he’s lost his fortune to gambling and in houses of ill repute.

They’re unhappy to see he’s laser-focused on Claire, and Margaret graciously offers to distract him so Claire can make her escape.

Unfortunately, Margaret only temporarily delays his meeting with Claire. He’s smarmy and gross as he compliments Claire’s appearance. Fortunately, Margaret interrupts the conversation to pull Claire away to help Jocasta.

Jamie and Governor Tryon continue to discuss the new law. The Governor hopes it will break up the Regulators. If they refuse to disband, then they’ll be arrested.

Jamie also learns the reason Margaret mentioned they’re on their way to New York is because Tryon’s been offered the governorship there. Tryon thinks it’s a done deal, but he admits he’s grown fond of North Carolina. He hates the idea of leaving it in chaos. Jamie believes a legacy of mercy would be the way to end his governorship of North Carolina, and Tryon assures him the men will have mercy – if they disband and ask for it.

Meanwhile, Philip continues to stalk Claire. He thinks she deserves so much more than to live in the backcountry and Claire tries to blow him off. Then he happens to mention an Irishman who does business out of Wilmington and he’s finally piqued her interest. When she asks if he’s talking about a smuggler, he pretends to find the idea offensive. Yet, he continues on and says this person can acquire rare and exquisite things.

Claire pours on the charm to get him to open up and then suggests she has something that might interest him. She pours him a glass of Jamie’s whiskey and he’s pleased with the taste. They discuss her two wedding rings and then toast to love.

Claire asks if this person he’s mentioned could “circumvent certain financial inconveniences” and Philip assures her anything she wants is hers. She claims Jamie’s whiskey venture is barely breaking even and she believes he needs a partner with connections. Philip finally confirms her suspicions when he names the Irishman. It’s Stephen Bonnet!

When he says Bonnet doesn’t do business with strangers, Claire assures Philip she’ll only deal with him – not Bonnet – and he’ll be paid a share of the profits.

Philip tires of talking about business and takes Claire to see his new horse. It’s a descendant of a famous racehorse and as she strokes the horse’s neck, Philip makes his move. Claire immediately makes him regret it, pushing him to the ground. He lands in horse manure just as Jamie arrives in the barn.

Philip has no idea who he’s tangling with and tries to blame it all on Claire. Jamie whips out a knife, but Claire reminds him they’re at his aunt’s wedding. Now’s not the time to kill anyone. Jamie lets him go but with a warning. If he comes near Claire again, he’ll kill him.

Jamie and Claire hug once the creep has left the barn. Jamie wonders why she gave him the time of day and Claire explains it’s because he knows Stephen Bonnet. They need to figure out how to calm Philip down so they can use him to get to Bonnet.

Jamie approaches Philip, who’s still insisting it was all Claire’s doing, and asks if he’s acquainted with the Governor’s wife. One word to her and Philip’s reputation will be ruined. Philip isn’t worried because his reputation is already tarnished.

Jamie offers to settle this now if Philip can beat him in a game of cards. The bet: if Jamie wins, he won’t further sully Philip’s reputation. If Philip wins, he has to give Jamie his prized horse. Philip laughs in Jamie’s face, saying what Jamie’s offering isn’t worth his horse. He doesn’t care about his pride – he wants Jamie to wager something more valuable.

Outlander Season 5 Episode 6
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in ‘Outlander’ season 5 episode 6 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Minutes later, Claire learns from Jamie what it is that Philip’s willing to play for. Philip wants Claire’s wedding ring from Frank if he wins. Claire knows Philip only wants it as revenge because he knows what it means to her. Jamie’s convinced they should wager it because when he wins, he gets the horse. Plus, they’ll be a step closer to getting to Stephen Bonnet.

Claire says no. She will not wager Frank’s wedding ring.

Jamie swears he won’t lose it, but Claire doesn’t trust him. She asks who he’s really doing this for and he claims it’s for Brianna. Claire reveals she thinks it’s for his own honor, not their daughter’s. Seething with anger, she hands him both of her wedding rings. If Jamie wagers Frank’s, he will also wager the one he gave her. She storms away leaving Jamie with both rings.

Later that evening, Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) puts in a surprise appearance at River Run. Jocasta can’t believe he’s there, given that Governor Tryon is right downstairs. They hug, but then Jocasta pulls away and asks why he’s come. He confesses he can’t face the rest of his life without her. He proposes and Jocasta’s shocked. It’s the day before her wedding and now, finally, Murtagh asks for her hand!

Murtagh admits he never believed she’d say yes to Duncan Innes. He wants her by his side for the remainder of their lives. She doesn’t reply but they do draw together for a kiss. She pulls away again and apologizes; she can’t call off her wedding.

She believes Duncan Innes is a good man who’ll make sure she’s happy. She recalls the night Hector insisted they pack up and move to America. They were going to the estates of her two oldest daughters, hoping to beat the redcoats there since her daughters had Jacobite blood. Jocasta wasn’t aware Hector stole a case of Stuart gold that had arrived too late for the Battle of Culloden.

She becomes emotional when she speaks of her 16-year-old daughter Morna and how she had to leave her, dead, in the mud. Jocasta sounds ashamed when she describes living in this palace built from the gold that led to Morna’s death for the past 30 years.

She also reveals her oldest daughters died in the fires following the Battle of Culloden.

Murtagh tries to comfort her as she describes how when she closed her eyes, she saw the fires burning and heard Morna calling out to her for help. She believes her blindness is a punishment for leaving Morna to come to America.

Hector was a firm supporter of the Jacobite cause. She compares Murtagh to her dead husband in that they both believed they could change the world. She lost everything because of that belief.

Murtagh swears after this war he’s done; he’ll settle down and come home to her. But Jocasta knows there will be more wars to follow. She knows who he is and that he’ll lose everything for what he believes in. She cannot give her heart to him and sends him away.

Murtagh pledges his love now and forever. His love for her will never fade. (This scene is absolutely heartbreaking!)

Claire heads to the barn alone to visit the horse. Jamie joins her and she’s still angry, as she has every right to be. She points out he’s drunk and when Jamie shows he still has her two wedding rings, Claire responds, “I didn’t think there was anything else Stephen Bonnet could take from us, but you almost let him take those.”

They argue again about Jamie’s motivations, and Claire believes his Scottish pride compelled his actions. He strikes back, telling her she thinks too much for her own good. When he says, “You’re a woman like no other, Sassenach, but don’t forget you’re still a woman,” Claire answers with a slap across his face. (Every woman who’s ever been belittled for their gender or treated as a second-class citizen should applaud Claire’s swift reaction.)

Jamie grabs her arm and goes in for a kiss. Claire, furious, pulls away…but not for long. Angry sex ensues and it’s not sweet and gentle. This is raw and rough, and I’m hoping the horses turned away. (It’s too much for innocent eyes.)

After Jamie and Claire work out their anger, they hold each other while seated against a horse stall. The tone shifts to one of intimacy. Jamie reveals he beat Philip and he was devastated at his loss. Jamie healed the wound by offering his horse back in exchange for a partnership and introduction to Bonnet.

Of course, Bonnet won’t realize he’s about to meet Jamie. Philip will set the meeting up for Jamie using Jamie’s middle names – Alexander Malcolm.

Jamie admits Claire was right. He’s going after Bonnet because he needs to see him dead. Claire makes him promise Stephen Bonnet will never take anything from their family again.

He does so while placing her wedding rings back on her fingers. “These rings will never leave your hands again. I swear it,” says Jamie, sealing the deal with a kiss.

Jocasta’s attorney Gerald Forbes meets secretly with Stephen Bonnet. He explains he’s come from Jocasta Cameron’s wedding at River Run and Bonnet asks if Jocasta’s related to Jamie Fraser. Forbes confirms she is and drops the news that Bonnet’s son Jemmy is now the owner of River Run.

The episode ends with Jamie meeting with Governor Tryon and learning not a single Regulator followed the law and turned themselves over to the mercy of the court. Because of that, the war is on. Munitions will be delivered to Hillsborough and Jamie’s charged with gathering the militia and meeting him there in a fortnight.

The Governor’s sure this will be a quick fight. “Aye. The Regulators are disorganized, no way prepared for war against the Crown,” says Jamie while remaining outwardly as calm as possible.